This week I started my first class with the Second City Training Centre in Toronto: Improv for Actors.
I’m really excited about this class. I love watching improv and have seen numerous mainstage performances at the Second City, but I must admit, improvising personally makes me feel rather nervous. I was relieved to find out that a number of my classmates feel the same way. Taking this class for me is about conquering those fears, being in the moment and jumping in, and seeing where it takes me.
In this blog, I plan to write about each class and share personal lessons learned. I will also write about improv activities and events that take place outside of class, mostly at the Second City in Toronto.
Upon arriving at the Second City Training Centre, I was directed to studio 9. I recognized a few classmates who I had met at the orientation a few days earlier. There was a sense of excitement and energy in the room, as we got together, waiting for the class to begin.
We started with introductions. There are about 18 students in the class of varying ages and backgrounds. The prerequisite for this class is that you’ve either studied acting, or are currently working as an actor.
I feel privileged to be amongst the company of some seasoned actors, one in particular was very exciting to meet. We have a student in the class who has been a cast member of SCTV and Saturday Night Live!
Once we began exercises, I was impressed by the skill level of my classmates, which means I have some great examples in class to look up to. 🙂
Note: I named the following exercises using names I felt were descriptive. If you know the actual names for these exercises, please leave a comment and I will edit the title.
- Exercise 1 – Point, “Yes!”
- Exercise 2 – (Delayed) Mirror
- Exercise 3 – Giving a gift
- Exercise 4 – “Yes, and…”
- Exercise 5 – “Yes, but…”
- Exercise 6 – “No”
- Exercise 7 – Last word begins next sentence
- Exercise 8 – Airport Shuttle (or Hitchhiker)
- Exercise 9 – Creating an Environment
- Exercise 10 – Environment Bench
- Improv is based upon trust. It is important for improvisers to take care of each other
- In life, people are predisposed to rejecting offers, to saying “No”, or “Yes, but”…this is because they may be afraid of what’s unknown, giving up their power, etc. In improv, it is important to accept all offers, and add a new offer. This is known as “Yes, and!!!”
- Nobody will laugh if they don’t believe you. Be believable.
- Make your partner look good. When you focus on making your fellow improviser look good, the pressure is taken off of you.
- There is fun to joining in – you can build upon what someone else is doing, instead of playing an opposite character (ie. Wayne and Garth from “Wayne’s World”)